Does chocolate intake during pregnancy reduce the risks of preeclampsia and gestational hypertension?
Ann Epidemiol. 2010 Aug;20(8):584-91. PMID: 20609337
Department of Epidemiology, University of Iowa College of Public Health, Iowa City, USA.
PURPOSE: Chocolate consumption is associated with favorable levels of blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease risk markers. We analyzed a prospective cohort study to determine whether regular chocolate intake during pregnancy is associated with reduced risks of preeclampsia and gestational hypertension (GH). METHODS: Subjects were recruited from 13 prenatal care practices in Connecticut (1988-1991). In-person interviews were administered at<16 weeks' gestation to ascertain risk factors for adverse pregnancy outcomes. Hospital delivery and prenatal records were abstracted to classify preeclampsia (n = 58), GH (n = 158), and normotensive pregnancies (n = 2351). Chocolate consumption (servings/week) during the first and third trimesters was ascertained at initial interview and immediately postpartum, respectively. Consumers of less than 1 serving/week comprised the referent group. Adjusted odds ratios (aORs) were estimated by the use of logistic regression. RESULTS: Chocolate intake was more frequent among normotensive (80.7%) than preeclamptic (62.5%) or GH women (75.8%), and associated with reduced odds of preeclampsia (first trimester: aOR, 0.55; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.32-0.95; third trimester: aOR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.32-0.97). Only first trimester intake was associated with reduced odds of GH (aOR,0.65; 95% CI, 0.45-0.87). CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide additional evidence of the benefits of chocolate. Prospective studies are needed to confirm and delineate protective effects of chocolate intake on risk of preeclampsia.